European and national policies on Vocational Education and Training (VET) need to be informed by sound and internationally comparable statistical evidence. The VET country statistical overviews are concise, descriptive and user friendly statistical reports. For each country, they quantify and compare key aspects of VET and lifelong learning. The selection is based on the indicators' policy relevance and their importance in achieving the Europe 2020 objectives.
VET indicators for the United Kingdom for the last available year
Index numbers (EU=100)
NB: The index numbers are derived from data summarised in the table. Data in the table have been rounded to one or two decimal places. The calculation of index numbers is instead based on not rounded data.
The performance of the United Kingdom on a range of indicators selected to monitor progress in VET and lifelong learning across the European Union (EU) is summarised below. The chart compares the situation in the United Kingdom with that of the EU, based on the most recent data available (this differs by indicator). Data in the chart are presented as an index where the EU average equals 100. If the index for a selected indicator for the United Kingdom is 100, then its performance equals the EU average. If the index is 90, its performance is 90% of (or 10% below) the EU average. If the index is 200, the performance of the United Kingdom is twice (or 200%) the EU average. For some indicators, such as early leavers from education and training, a country is performing better if its score is below that of the EU average.
Data on which the index is calculated are presented in the table, which also shows developments over time. A technical definition of each indicator is provided in the annex.
Access, attractiveness and flexibility
The share of upper secondary students enrolled in IVET in the United Kingdom is lower (40.1%) than the EU average (47.3% in 2015). This is mostly due to relatively low male participation, as female participation in IVET– as a share of all female upper secondary students – at 40.1%, is closer to the EU average of 42.0%.
The percentage of adults participating in lifelong learning in 2016 (14.4%) is higher than the corresponding EU average (10.8%) and below but close to the average target (15%) set by the strategic framework Education and training 2020. The percentage of older adults (11.1%), people with low-level education (6.0%), and the unemployed (13.3%) participating in lifelong learning is higher in the UK than in the EU.
Employers in the UK are more likely to report the provision of training (80% compared to 66% in the EU, based on 2010 CVTS data). The UK also has a higher percentage of employees participating in on-the-job training (30% compared with the EU average of 20%) but a lower percentage of employees participating in employer-sponsored CVT courses (31% compared to 38% across the EU).
Skill development and labour market relevance
Public expenditure on VET as a percentage of GDP in the United Kingdom at 0.45% is lower than the corresponding EU average of 0.54% (data for 2014). The average expenditure per student, however, at 8 500 purchasing power standard (PPS) units, is close to the 8 400 PPS units in the EU.
The employment rate of IVET graduates (aged 20-34) at ISCED levels 3-4 (80.9%) is higher than the EU average (78.1%). IVET graduates in the UK have an employment rate which is very close to (namely: 0.4 percentage points higher than) for graduates from general education (well below the EU average premium of 5.7). Their employment rate is only 18.1 percentage points higher than for graduates with lower-level qualifications (again well below the EU average premium of 23.4). All these employment figures relate to 2016 and exclude young people in further education and training.
Overall transitions and labour market trends
In this section all data refer to 2016 unless otherwise stated.
The percentage of early leavers from education and training in the United Kingdom (11.2%) is slightly higher than the corresponding EU average (10.7%) and above the Europe 2020 average target (10%). The percentage of 30 to 34 year-olds who have completed tertiary-level education (48.1%) is higher than the EU average (39.1%) and above the Europe 2020 average target (40%).
The employment rate for 20 to 64 year-olds (77.6%) is higher than in the EU overall (71.0%), as is the employment rate of recent graduates (84.4%, compared with the EU average of 78.2%). The NEET rate (14.0%) is a little lower (15.2% for the EU). The unemployment rate for 20 to 34 year-olds (6.1%) is below the EU average (11.8%). The employment rate of 20 to 64 year-olds with a low level of educational attainment is higher in the UK (62.1%) than in the EU (53.6%), and has increased by 6.5 percentage points since 2011.
Score on VET indicators in United Kingdom and in the EU, 2010,
last available year and recent change
EU refers to EU-28, unless otherwise specified. Arrows ↗ or ↘ signal a positive or negative change. Arrow → indicates: no change.
(A) UOE back reconstruction of 2010 values based on ISCED 2011 not yet available. (B) AES 2011, used as proxy for 2010 baseline. (C) 2014 b flags in Eurostat online tables ignored on the basis of other relevant Eurostat metadata. (D) Forecast made in 2016. (E1) Based on 28 countries, with partial information for NL. (E2) Based on 28 countries, with partial information for EL, ES, NL, PL, RO. (E3) Based on 28 countries, with partial information for IT, NL. (E4) Based on 23 countries (missing: DK, EL, HR, IT, PT), with partial information for IE and FR. (E5) Based on 23 countries (missing: DK, EL, HR, IT, PT), with partial information for IE and FR. (E6) Based on 28 countries, with partial information for DK, EL, NL. (E7) Based on 25 countries (missing: HR, IT, UK), with partial information for BE, CZ, DK, DE, EE, EL, LU, NL, PL, SE. (E8) Based on 25 countries (missing: IE, FR, UK), with partial information for BE, EL, LU. (E9) Based on 26 countries (missing: IE, UK), with partial information for DK, DE. (E10) Based on 28 countries. (b) Break after 2010, therefore baseline data not included. (u) Eurostat: ‘low reliability’. (z) Eurostat: ‘not applicable’. (e) Eurostat: ‘estimated’.